How Long Should My MacBooks Last?

This is a frequently asked question among MacBook and MacBook Pro owners, especially since Apple devices are infamously expensive. Before making that kind of investment, you of course, want to ensure that it will be with you for many years to come.

Fortunately, Macs are built to last, however; the lifespan of your Mac device depends on several factors, including care, usage, maintenance, and the specific model you have.

In this blog, you’ll learn about the average life expectancy of a MacBook, the effects of light, moderate, and heavy use, ways to extend the life of your device, and signs it’s time to replace your Mac.

The Average Life Expectancy of a MacBook

There is no exact science, but the average MacBook Pro lifespan is about 7 years, assuming that you take good care of your device. Some Mac users find that their devices function for up to 8 years, and others around 5-6 years, but this all depends on individual circumstances — including its hardware, how it’s used, and how it’s handled.

The good news is that Apple products and hardware are widely known for being the best on the market, which is why pre-owned Macs are often refurbished and sold even at 10 years of age.

One of the most common reasons to replace a MacBook is due to poor battery life, and no longer being able to charge.

Battery longevity

The MacBook Pro battery is known for its long battery life and reliability, but the battery can also play a part in the lifespan of your device. On average, you can expect an Apple lithium-ion battery to last for around 3-4 years before you need to replace it.

Apple uses what’s called battery cycle count to determine the number of cycles your Mac laptop battery has. Your device’s battery goes through charge cycles when you use all of the battery’s power, and there are a limited amount of charge cycles before performance diminishes. MacBooks are designed to hold 1000 cycles, and after that, the battery ability to hold the charge will drop to 80%.

Later on in the blog we’ll provide tips on how to extend the life of your MacBook or MacBook Pro models by using the battery wisely, staying on top of software updates and new Apple releases, and tracking your storage space.

How Long do MacBooks Last with Heavy Use?

The lifespan of your MacBook will greatly depend on how you use it and what you use it for.

In these next three sections, we’ll share how long you can expect your Mac to last based on heavy, moderate, and light usage.

First, let’s discuss what heavy MacBook use might look like. If you use your MacBook Pro intensively and for long hours, your device will last less than the average lifespan. Depending on your device and the way you use it, your Mac may survive anywhere between 4-7 years.

Heavy usage could include working in large spreadsheets, gaming, running design programs, building animations, or editing video, for example. These types of tasks are considered CPU-intensive, which means that they wear down the Mac laptop’s life expectancy — taking a toll on the central processing unit. As technology continues to quickly advance, your battery, RAM, graphics card, and software updates can’t keep up.

Pro tip: Reducing strain on your battery whenever possible can help your device last longer. Later on in the blog, we’ll discuss when it may be time for a battery replacement.

How Long Do MacBooks Work?

How Long Should My MacBooks Last with Moderate Use?

In the previous section, we discussed the characteristics of heavy MacBook use. If those tasks did not resonate with how you use your Mac, then you may be considered a moderate or light user.

So, what does moderate MacBook use look like? If you use your laptop to browse the web, work in Google Sheets, write in Google Docs, or for CRM (customer relationship management), you are probably a moderate user.

Moderate use typically means that you’re not a “power user” and rarely play games, or or run heavy programs that affect your device’s processor speed. If this sounds like you, then you can probably count on a lifespan of about 5-7 years for your MacBook Pro.

How Long Should a MacBook Last with Light Use?

If you’ve made it this far, and determined that you’re not a heavy or moderate user, then you may just be a light MacBook user.

Light use of your laptop means that you use your MacBook Pro for things like checking email, editing documents, and browsing online. These types of tasks are less process-intensive so your device may last 7-9 years with good care. Some light users report that their old Mac still works for up to 10 years, but the processing time has slowed.

Easy Ways to Extend the Life of Your MacBook

So by now, you’ve probably figured out if you’re a light, moderate, or heavy MacBook user. If you think you’re a moderate or heavy user, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the ways that you can extend the life of your Mac — so that you get the most bang for your buck!

Here are 5 easy ways that you can extend the life of your MacBook:

1. Stay on top of software updates.

This first tip is extremely important! It’s crucial that you stay on top of all the latest macOS software updates. Reason being, these software updates can potentially resolve security issues and bugs that may be slowing down your device or causing your Mac to use more power than necessary.

2. Track your storage.

It’s best to avoid filling your drive to maximum capacity — the goal is to keep about 5-10% of your drive free. When you start to run out of space on your laptop, your drive has to keep reorganizing data, which causes your computer to do a lot more work behind the scenes than is needed.

3. Use the battery wisely.

MacBooks are known for having high-quality batteries that can last five years or more if used correctly. That’s why maintaining your device’s battery health is so important. The best tip is to avoid draining the battery, so it’s advised to keep your laptop plugged in whenever possible. This helps to keep the battery cycle count low and the battery’s charge capacity high.

4. Clean your laptop often.

Many Mac users fail to realize that this is actually very important. Regularly cleaning your laptop (preferably weekly), not only removes bacteria, but can help ensure that your MacBook doesn’t accumulate dirt — clogging ports and vents.

The following cleaning products are recommended for all your Apple devices:

  • A microfiber cloth
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes
  • Compressed air
  • A laptop cleaning brush

5. Use protective cases whenever possible.

Last, but not least, using a protective case on your MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air models, Mac mini models, and all other Apple devices, is highly encouraged. Accidents can happen, and occasionally laptops get dropped or hit against hard surfaces. The best way to protect your device from this kind of potential damage is to purchase and use a protective hard-shell case or laptop sleeve at all times (or as often as possible).

Pro tip: You can also increase the lifespan of your MacBook by simply turning it off daily when you’re finished using it. It’s also a good idea to upgrade and add more RAM if you use heavy design programs, or replace the hard drive with an SSD to make your Mac faster.

Signs it's Time to Replace Your MacBook

Photo by AB on Unsplash

So how do you know when it’s time to replace your MacBook? If you find that your device can no longer be updated or run the apps you need, or if it’s a later MacBook Pro model or later MacBook Air model, then that’s probably a good sign that it’s time to buy a new one.

First, you need to find out how old your Mac is (if you don’t already know). To do this:

  • Click on the Apple menu and choose About this Mac.
  • The year listed next to the model name is the one you need.

If you’re experiencing any of the following, then it may be time to invest in a new MacBook:

You can’t run the latest version of macOS.

If your computer can no longer upgrade to the latest Mac operating system, then that’s a pretty tell-tale sign that it’s time to replace your device. If you’ve had your computer for many years, it can start to become obsolete — making it difficult to keep up with the latest updates.

Your Mac constantly lacks free space.

As your computer gets older, you tend to acquire more files, documents, data, and applications. And these start to fill up the space you have available for storage. Additionally, new programs and software are usually more advanced and demand more space. Older MacBook models will have less storage space than newer models, so as your device gets full, performance will slow.

Your Mac's hardware isn't powerful enough.

Another common reason that people choose to replace their Mac is because they need more power. When you first purchased your MacBook, its processing power may have suited your needs, but you may find that your requirements change over time. For example, if you start using your device for video editing or gaming, you’ll probably find that you desire faster processing speed. As mentioned in the last section, this means it might be a good time to invest in a new MacBook Pro with more RAM.

Your Mac has major hardware damage.

If your Mac is experiencing any hardware damage, then it’s probably time to invest in a replacement. Here are some of the signs to be on the lookout for:

  • Your Mac won’t charge or turn on.
  • Your Mac doesn’t start up all the way (you may see a black or gray screen when trying to boot up macOS.)
  • There is no display backlight, or you’re experiencing screen flickering.
  • The trackpad or mouse are being erratic.
  • Your Mac has been subjected to physical or liquid damage.
  • The keyboard or keys are stuck and not working.

If you notice any of the above or any other unusual activity with your Mac, then there may be some hardware damage at play.

Your Mac experiences frequent software issues.

On the flipside, your Mac issues could be related to software. If your device crashes unexpectedly, restarts out of the blue, or apps are freezing up, then there may be some complications with software. In some cases, simple troubleshooting can fix common macOS software problems, but if that doesn’t work, it is advised to contact Apple support.

The timing is right for a new Mac.

Lastly, the timing may just be right for you to invest in a new Mac. If your device is too old to update, is struggling to perform the tasks you require, or if the battery can no longer hold its charge, then you may want to consider replacing your device. Sometimes there are issues that are beyond repair or may be too expensive to fix.

Ultimately, you can count on your MacBook to last quite a while, but as it ages, you will start to see performance decline. If you follow the steps in this blog and take good care of your computer, you can increase its lifespan some, but it won’t last forever. If you have detected any of the aforementioned signs or if your laptop is 7 years of age or older, then it’s probably a good time to consider an upgrade.

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  • What is the average life expectancy of a MacBook?
    Macs can typically last anywhere between 5-8 years — based on individual circumstances. Most sources say the average life expectancy is about 7 years.
  • How long do MacBooks last with heavy use?
    Depending on your device and the way you use it, your Mac may survive anywhere between 4-7 years with heavy use.
  • How long do MacBooks last with moderate use?
    You can probably count on a lifespan of about 5-7 years for your MacBook with moderate use.
  • How long do MacBooks last with light use?
    You can expect your Macbook to last 7-9 years with light use.
  • How can you extend the life of your MacBook?
    You can extend the life of your MacBook by staying on top of software updates, tracking storage, using the battery wisely, cleaning your laptop, and using protective cases.
  • How do you know when it’s time to replace your MacBook?
    When you can no longer run the latest version of macOS, when your Mac device lacks free space, isn’t powerful enough, has hardware damage, or is experiencing software issues, it may be time to replace your MacBook.

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